| May 25, 2006


Feature Article - May 25, 2006

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Feature Article - May 25, 2006

Councillor makes 11th hour plea to delay building salt dome

by Jeff Green

Central Frontenac Public Works Manager Bill Nicol often expects to face debate when he makes proposals to council, but he must have been surprised when Councilor Bob Harvey spoke out against awarding a tender to Derrick’s Construction for $240,000 to build a salt dome at the township’s Godfrey yard on Road 38, two years after the project was first discussed by Council.

Harvey did not take issue with the price. He is concerned over the location, saying that an engineering study as to the suitability of the site for salt storage should be completed before proceeding any further.

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“We have never had an engineer looking at that site to tell us whether it is suitable for a salt storage facility. We are now spending money to put up a storage shed at a location that has already had salt problems. I can see future problems putting a shed on that site,” Harvey said, referring to public complaints that are under investigation concerning salt leaching from the exposed salt/sand pile at the site.

Bill Nicol replied by saying “This issue has been with us for five years, and this site has been talked about for a while … A recommendation by Golder and Associates [an engineering firm], regarding this site was forwarded to me back on December 31st, and it was part of a salt management plan that was submitted to the province last year.”

Bob Harvey was still not satisfied. He said that a shed put up years ago by the provincial Ministry of Transportation at Brooke Valley ended up failing. The province had to purchase a house and property 300 metres away and tear down the shed.

“The site we are talking about here is the worst I’ve seen,” said Harvey . “When you put up a storage shed you don’t eliminate the contamination. I was hoping an engineering study would come forward.”

Several years ago, the provincial government decreed that all municipalities must move towards storing road salt in storage sheds where they will not be exposed to the elements, in order to limit environmental effects from salt leaching into groundwater.

Townships were charged with preparing salt management plans, and were given until the end of 2007 to ensure that all salt they store is contained.

Two years ago, Central Frontenac Council decided to consolidate their four township garages into two, one on Road 38 at Godfrey and one of Hwy. 7 north of Mountain Grove, partly so that they could build two salt storage domes instead of 4. Bill Nicol plans to build the second shed at the Olden Garage next year.

Another councilor, Logan Murray, had problems with Nicols’ plan to hire Derrick’s Construction, but Murray ’s problem was one of process rather than location.

“I think a contract of this size should have gone to tender instead of just seeking a quote, as was done.”

Bill Nicol explained that he has looked at various designs for storage sheds and thinks that the design proposed by Derrick’s Construction is superior to the other designs he has seen.

“There were no other companies available that could build this kind of building for us, so I didn’t really have anything to tender,” he said.

In a recorded vote, seven councillors voted in favour of contracting Derrick Construction to build a storage shed at the Godfrey garage. Councillors Harvey and Murray voted against the motion.

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